Assam's farmer leader arrested for protest

Assam's farmers' leader and Right To Information activist Akhil Gogoi was Monday arrested for staging a protest in front of a court without obtaining permission from the district administration.

The protest was being held outside the court of the Kamrup session judge.

Gogoi, who leads the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) was arrested while demanding action against business establishments and individuals involved in cases of using agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes in Kamrup district.

"He had violated Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code which is in force, prohibiting assembly of five or more persons. They did not take permission. We asked them to vacate the place, but the protestors did not comply, forcing us to arrest him," said Senior superintendent of Police (Guwahati) Anand Prakash Tiwari.

The protest Monday was against the anticipatory bail granted to the proprietor of a real estate firm against whom a case was registered. Gogoi said government lawyers did not oppose the man's bail, and the police ought to have booked him under stricter sections of law.

Protests have been held by people angry with the arrest of their leader, since Gogoi was taken to the Sonapur police station in the outskirts of the city.

The KMSS has said it would protest also in front of the office of Assam police chief and the residence of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

KMSS leader Mukut Deka said protests would continue till strict action is initiated against those illegally transferring agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes.

The state government has already constituted a committee headed by senior Congress legislator Bhumidhar Barman to inquire into the increasing number of complaints about illegal transfers of agricultural land in the state.